True (...sort of) by Katherine Hannigan, is a realistic fiction story about Delly (Delaware), an 11 year old girl who is full of great ideas and loves to make up her own words and yearns for adventure. But her impulsive nature gets her into such frequent trouble in school and in town that she is told she will have to go to another school if she continues on this path. Her adoring younger brother, RB, advises Delly to try counting to 10 before acting out her ideas, but it is the mysterious new girl in school, Ferris Boyd who eventually helps Delly turn things around. Though Ferris does not speak and cannot stand to be touched, the two form a special bond of friendship, soon including JB, and their support of each other ends up changing all of their lives for the better. These are characters the reader will never forget. Grade 4-6
Rump : the true story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff is a inventive fantasy based on the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin. This tale is the backstory of the fairy tale, in which we meet Rumpelstiltskin as a young boy called Rump. Rump's mother died before she could utter his complete name so Rump is growing up continually ridiculed for his name. He lives in the Kingdom with his grandmother and mines for gold daily to trade with the greedy miller for food. His pale and sad life changes suddenly when he finds his mother's spinning wheel and discovers he can spin straw into gold. But what troubles will this magic bring, what trades will he have to make? Read Rump to find out where the gold takes him and how he learns his full name! Grade 3-5
My Heart is Laughing by Rose Lagercrantz is the second in a series about Dani and her friends. Dani is an upbeat good friend who tries to always look at life in a positive way, even when navigating the challenges of two mean girls in school. Worse yet, her best friend has moved away and she misses their closeness and the fact that they like so many of the same things. But Dani remains sure that Ella will return as she tries hard to remember their good times, and enjoy school until then. Read to find out how Dani copes and makes new friends and if Ella does come back! Grade 2-3.
In The Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood we meet Theo as he gets off a bus from Kentucky with an Uncle he barely knows to start a new life in Destiny, Florida. Theo's Uncle Raymond, a gruff former Vietnam veteran is now Theo's only relative and not so sure he wants Theo around. But Theo likes to Destiny immediately. He likes the owner of the boarding house they are living in who runs dance classes for children and loves music, as does Theo. He meets Anabel a feisty girl his own age who is supposed to be going to dance classes but cuts them in favor of baseball which she loves, as does Theo. Together they decide to investigate the town's history with baseball. But when Uncle Raymond starts talking about moving on from Destiny, Theo has to find a way to stay in the place he now feels at home. Grade 3-5.
Shelter Pet Squad, Jelly Bean by Cynthia Lord is the first of a new series about kids who truly love animals and volunteer at a local animal shelter, as the "Shelter Pet Squad". The squad helps out by making dog and cat toys for the animals and playing with them or giving them exercise. This is the perfect place for Suzannah as she desperately wants a pet but lives in a no pets apartment! So when Jelly Bean an adorable and very friendly guinea pig is brought to the shelter, Suzannah promises the former owner who is moving, that she will personally find a great new owner and take care of Jelly Bean until then. So she gets the shelter pet squad together to find a class that will adopt Jelly Bean. Animal lovers - read to find out how shelters work, meet terrific animals and a great group of kids. Grade 2-4.
About Average by Andrew Clements is a special story because it seems like books are often about kids with a real talent, while Jordan, thinks of herself as very average. She believes she is average at school, sports, music, in fact not really good at anything, at least nothing that matters! And Jordan is determined that this year, in sixth grade. she will figure out her talent and be recognized for it, finally! What Jordan does not understand yet, is that her diligence, hard work, kind and good nature, is special. And there is even more that makes Jordan special, even a hero. Find out the amazing year in store for Jordan and the reader. Grade 3-4.
Robbie Darko, in Dorko the Magnificent by Andrea Beaty, is obsessed with magic and has really studied it, learning enough tricks to become a pretty competent magician. But still, very often, something goes wrong with his biggest tricks, landing him in trouble, especially with teachers and the school bully. This year, however, he is determined to be the hit of the school talent show with a really big, surprising magic trick. Unfortunately at home things are not going smoothly. His mom has had to take a job in which she works very long hours, his younger brother is a big annoyance and worse yet, a very crabby elderly aunt that the family calls "Grandma Melvyn" moves into their house and into his room! Surprisingly Robbie realizes that Grandma Melvyn seems to know a lot about magic and has a mysterious past that may have involved professional magicians. Could she possibly help Robbie with his quest? For magic lovers in grades 3-5.
8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel + 1 Dog = Chaos by Vivian Vande Velde is an awesome fun creative story involving all the elements in the title. The reader first meets Twitch, a squirrel who lives by a schoolyard where there is a lot of great equipment to climb and play on and school children he loves to watch through the classroom windows. But when a dog chases Twitch into the school after everyone has gone home, Twitch meets 8 class pets who each try to help him get away from the dog using their unique animal talents. What will the school look like when they are finished and will the squirrel survive? Grade 1-5.
In The Arctic Code by Matthew Kirby we are taken on a wild ride into the future, to a time when the Earth has been overtaken by an unexpected Ice Age. The ice has been moving and gathering ground for several years making much of the Northern Hemisphere inhabitable. Twelve year old Eleanor is living with her uncle in Phoenix, which is no longer a hot desert, but livable, while her mother, an environmental scientist, works in the dangerous Arctic. Eleanor's mother is trying to find an energy source that will help the Earth fight the cold but has encountered problems that have delayed her return. Suddenly Eleanor receives computer files from her mother with a message that she should keep them secret and then Eleanor's mother disappears! Eleanor uses every trick she can think of to get herself stowed away on a plane to the Arctic to help find her mother. Read to find out the mystery, what the files meant, and will they be able to help the Earth survive? Grade 4-7.
The Sherlock Files - Book 1: The 100 Year Old Secret by Tracy Barrett introduces Xena and Xander, an American sister and younger brother who have just moved to London where their parents are working for one year. As they begin to adjust to a new country, a mysterious note leaves clues to a secret room where the two meet the members of The Society for the Preservation of Famous Detectives. The Society tells them they are the great, great, great grandchildren of Sherlock Holmes and provides the sister and brother with a case file of mysteries that Sherlock Holmes never finished. Xander and Xena decide to try to solve one of the mysteries, a missing painting of a famous painter, whose art is currently being displayed in a London museum. With smarts, research, diligence and a bit of luck, the two find clues and begin to unravel the old mystery. Will they succeed and honor their famous relative? Grade 3-6.
My Reading List!
I am the Library Media Center director at Patton School in Arlington Heights where I help students from kindergarten through 5th grade find terrific independent reading for enjoyment and information, and teach students the skills to use information and technology safely and productively and to connect, communicate and share with others. I have four grown children, a large black dog, (flat coat retriever) and a small striped cat. I am an obessive Chicago Cubs fan and I love to run.